Saturday, May 14, 2011

O.C. Demos Definitively Knocked Out the Park!

Oh snap! What's this? A third, bonus entry in the O-Zone Originals series[see also: Part 1 and Part 2] by O.C. on No Sleep Records? That's right, this is O-Zone Extras, an especially limited EP only pressed up and given to those of us who supported all five of No Sleep's previous vinyl releases. It can't be purchased anywhere, but 95 lucky people were lucky enough to receive this for free with their copies of O-Zone Originals Part 2, and man is it a treat!

The first side is all demos, including three ultra-vintage joints recorded as far back as 1991 and '92. They're produced by somebody I've never heard of, called Kemp, but don't let that put you off. They're great. Really, this is the "oh shit!" moment of the O.C. demos, when you first hear the opening of the first track, "Visual Picture." When we first heard O.C. debut on "Fudge Pudge" and were expecting him to follow it up with his own record, this is what the most optimistic of us expected to hear. O.C. goes in with fast battle raps over a hype but rugged, ever-changing beat and a perfect horn-blaring hook.

"Stay Alive" is a little smoother, and plays it safer with familiar samples we've all heard before, but it still knocks. And the third Kemp track is "Step Into the O-Zone" that later got remade as just "O-Zone" on Word... Life. You may remember Stretch Armstrong leaking this one on his blog several years ago. Well here it is, finally, in all it's non-radio-rip, remastered glory. This has a totally different spirit than the one Wild Pitch put out, with fast-paced, high energy samples as opposed to the slow, jazzy grooves of the album version. And I can't front on that version, but I definitely prefer this one.

Finally, the A-side ends with a demo by underground DITC/ Freestyle Professors-affiliate Page the Hand Grenade which features O.C. and a beat by Buckwild. Recorded in 1994, it's called "Weak Ideas," and is another low-fi banger. If you dug Your Pocket's Been P;cked - and of course you did, silly! - then you'll definitely appreciate this.

The B-side isn't quite as incredible as the A-side (how could it be?), but it's a very cool dip into O.C.'s past for his fans. It's labeled the Word... Life Sessions, and features three original mixes of songs from his first album.

First up is "No Main Topic." It's the same beat by DJ Ogee as on the album, and the same lyrics. But where Prince Po's lyrics were muted down at the end of the album version, here they're kept intact and at full volume. And he continues to adlib for a long time! So, it's an interesting alternate mix for the serious fans.

Next is "Story," also produced by Ogee. Again, the music is no different, but this one has a markedly different hook, with the sounds of a crowd of people freaking out about what happens in the narrative raps. The album version, you'll recall, had that stuttering whisper, "believe it or not-ot-ot" instead. I'm not sure which version I prefer. Again, this is more or just an interesting look at what might've been for the hardcore fans and any essential, unheard music.

Finally there's a remix of "Born To Live" by Organized Konfusion. This is largely the same remix that was on the CD version of the album and included on the vinyl represses, but not the original LP. The one on this EP, though, has a deep bassline absent from the released version, and that bass helps a lot. This is definitely an improvement over what was released previously, so it's nice to get it here.

All in all, I'm super happy with this bonus record... I like it even better than O-Zone Originals Part 2... and I think even O-Zone Originals Part 1! It's kinda rough on fans who missed out that this isn't purchasable by itself, and that the best of them is also the most limited with the smallest pressing. But I'm sure you hardcore diggers will find a way. I can certainly assure you that it's worth it if you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment